Drying of Biopharmaceuticals: Recent Developments, New Technologies and Future Direction
The dehydration of biopharmaceutical products through drying provides numerous benefits, including ease of handling and storage, reduction in transportation costs, and improved stability. Typically, the drying of biotherapeutics is accomplished through freeze-drying, however, the removal of water by lyophilization possesses several drawbacks, including lengthy drying times, low energy efficiency, and the high cost of purchasing and maintaining the equipment. Furthermore, freeze- drying is a batch process which may be challenging to adapt and implement with the recent push for continuous manufacturing. These limitations have led to the search for next-generation drying technologies that can be applied to the manufacture of biotherapeutic products. Several alternative drying methods to freeze-drying have been developed and implemented in industries outside of pharmaceuticals, such as food and agriculture, and some are at an advanced state. With the aim of applying lessons learned from technologies in various industries, herein, we review several processing technologies with particular emphasis on the advantages and disadvantages of each in comparison to lyophilization and their potential to be adapted and utilized for drying biotherapeutic compounds.